Students Express Outrage Over Proposed Digital Library

Books are put to the test as the Vermont State University administration proposes a plan to create a fully digitalized library.

Book Culture Bookspot / Libraries Opinions

As bookish people, we hold libraries near and dear to our hearts. Lately, our libraries have been under attack. Banning books is just the beginning of this unnerving movement. Vermont State University’s administration recently announced the proposition of turning their libraries into “digital libraries.” What is a digital library you ask? Well, it seems like the administration itself doesn’t know quite yet. And as expected, the students have lashed back, declaring libraries a “safe space” and a necessary aspect of their education.

Student Perspective

The students have begun to protest around this sudden change, explaining the ways in which online learning has halted their progression as students. Let’s face it, learning and interacting with your peers through a screen is simply not the same as in-person. For some students, reading text online is nearly impossible due to disabilities. For other students, reading a physical book allows them to understand information and stay focused compared to reading digitally.

“I feel like we’re losing the heart of our community when we lose our library”

A second-year English major in Vermont
Students in university theatre with protesting signs regarding digitalized library proposal

Administrative Response

Vermont administration explained how sorry they were for the sudden announcement. The administration noted that a larger group of students would have impacted their decision more, considering only about 10% of the student body showed up to the forum. They understand how their decision could impact the community, but they are unfortunately not backing down from the proposition.

Student with protesting sign stating "We tried online learning. We hated it."

My Thoughts

When we start banning books, we adhere to the norm of limiting experiences, opinions, and important information. This is seen throughout history. While that is not necessarily happening here, another evil is occurring. Libraries hold a special place in people’s hearts, students especially. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning has been forced upon so many people, myself included. I was stripped of my final college graduation because of the pandemic and had to submit to online learning for my final 4 months. Students have had enough of digital learning, and that passion is seen throughout this protest. I believe it is important to keep things IRL so we can maintain that human interaction we all desperately need.

Want to read more about how our libraries and books are in danger? Check out this article!